By Avika Ramdhani
I was selected to be part of IBM CSC’s program after applying in 2015. In 2016 I received an email with the opportunity to go to Guangzhou, China to work at an NGO. I was elated with the news and immediately accepted! I am currently in the role of Channel Account Manager and I work with Software Distributors in IBM South Africa. I have just completed 8 wonderful years at IBM.
Our team was made up of 12 individuals, from 7 countries and named China 32 as we are the 32nd team to go to China on the CSC assignment. We were then sub-divided into teams of 3, and we worked at 4 different NGO’s. My team was made up of Andras Zimmerman (Hungary, Team Manager for COE) & Maja-Laura Kresic (Croatia, Lawyer).
Our NGO client was Guangzhou English Training Centre for the Handicapped (GETCH Foundation). The organization was formed in 2013 and its fairly new. The school provides 3-year training in English for students with disabilities. This is free to the students and is funded with donations and fundraising activities which the foundation and school runs. The GETCH foundations’ primary role is to provide job placements for students with disabilities once they graduate. Some of the challenges which they currently face are website design & maintenance, fundraising activities, partnering with business for Job placements and collection of data. Our role in one month was to analyze and understand the organization’s operations and then provide recommendations for improvement as well as to create templates and processes which they can implement in order to attain growth.
At the end of the 4 weeks we had achieved so much! : We provided the client with design options for the website, information of potential hosts for the website and methods of updating and maintaining the website in order for the website to be a source of information and way to communicate with users. With regards to fundraising, we developed a framework and implementation guideline of a membership program, which will provide a consistent source of income. In addition, we developed catalogues, booklets and communications guidelines of how the Foundation should initiate partnerships discussions with potential employers. We also provided recommendations on how to better “market” the NGO and create awareness of the cause which it supports and the service that they provide.
The experience of the entire CSC assignment has been amazing. Being in China and creating memories is by far the most memorable one month of my life. Working with our client, people with disabilities and students, watching them and interacting with them was truly inspiring. They are extremely positive and enthusiastic despite their disability.
The experience of being on CSC has changed my outlook on life and will definitely improve the way I live my life going forward. I have learnt so much from my team and the client and will exercise the learning in my daily job. At the Final Delivery, the client was happy with our work and praised IBM for having such a great program.
Guangdong Province is beautiful and is full of wonderful and friendly people who are very welcoming to foreigners. The city Guangzhou (GZ) has 13 million people and is huge in terrain. Some of the highlights being, the canton tower, Guilin & Yuangshou, its green and luscious parks, the Pearl river, Bayun mountain & Forshan. The local language spoken in GZ is cantonese and Manderin.
I would like to thank everyone who supported me on this journey, family, friends, colleagues, my team mates, the logistic staff, IBM South Africa, mentors, local management and the CSC Team for giving me the opportunity to give back and most importantly for giving me the opportunity to “Live the Dream”!!!
Avika is a Channel Account Manager with IBM South Africa.
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